A group of women from the Lower South West has raised nearly $50,000 for the New Town Toyota Women’s Walk For Cancer in a monumental effort to raise funding for cancer research. The South Forest Steppers, which comprise about 23 women, are heading to Perth on Saturday to take part in the annual event set up by the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research. The walk is a 42km journey which Debi Johnson, one of the walkers from Manjimup, said would be “a very emotional walk”. Ms Johnson said this year would mark her fifth walk for the cause of women’s cancer research after she started due to a personal struggle she had with the terrible disease. Ms Johnson said she was diagnosed as being “high risk” for ovarian and breast cancer and so to try to limit the risk she had “preventative surgeries”. She said everyone knew someone who had battled cancer which was what made events like these so important. “We all know someone who has been affected by cancer and this year we are walking for a couple of local women who have recently been diagnosed and are beginning their fight,” she said. Originally starting out with the hope of raising $10,000 after raising $8000 last year, Ms Johnson said she was “blown away” with the support people in the Lower South West had shown and the group had so far raised $49,000. “Without having such an amazing community behind us there is no way we could have got to that amount of money,” she said. “We ran a pop-up shop and just seeing people come in to donate $100 bills and to support us the way they did was absolutely overwhelming.” Ms Johnson said the walk should take them about seven hours to complete and it would be a very emotional and moving moment when they crossed the finish line.